Walls Above Ouray

Snowy Cliffs above Ouray, Colorado

Snowy cliff walls above Ouray, Colorado. I took this shot from my porch today with my new Olympus 70-300mm telephoto lens, at 200mm (400mm equivalent in 35mm terms). With this lens I’ll never even have to leave my house to get mountain photos! It’s a pretty sweet thing to have a 600mm equivalent reach in a lens that’s only 5 inches long and weighs just over a pound. I’ve never been much of a telephoto shooter, but I look forward to seeing what I can do with this lens.

Sunset on Sneffels Summit

Sunset on the San Juans, from the summit of Mt. Sneffels, Colorado

Mt. Sneffels shadow, Teakettle on the right, Cirque Mountain in the center.

Sunset over the San Juans, from the summit of Mt. Sneffels, Colorado

With warm September temperatures and a gorgeous clear blue sky, yesterday afternoon I hiked up Mt. Sneffels to watch the sunset from the 14,156 ft. summit. Though I could have driven my truck to the upper trailhead, I decided to start from the lower trailhead because there was no hurry and I needed the exercise anyways. I hiked up to Blue Lakes Pass then took the southwestern ridge route to the summit, a fun scrambly route that I’d never done before. I relaxed for a couple hours up on top, had fun taking photos of the sunset and the post-sunset glow, then made my way down the standard route via headlamp and a quarter-moon.

This was the fourth time I’ve summited Sneffels, but it was the first time I’ve seen the sunset up there, and the first time I’ve hiked it without crampons and a springtime snowpack.

Here’s a link to some photos from a previous hike I did up Sneffels for the sunrise, via moonlight.

Solar Ranch Sunset

Sunset in Ridgway, Colorado

I was at my friends’ house for dinner last night in Ridgway, and the sunset was looking good so I walked out into a field in front of their house and took some photos. I didn’t really have much to work with out there except a little brush-filled ditch, and I’m not entirely convinced that this shot is a “keeper”; I do like the colors though! The Cimarron Range is lit up in the background.

Lightning Overdose at Blue Lakes

Blue Lakes and Mt. Sneffels

On Saturday I went on a quick overnight backpacking trip to Blue Lakes, under Mt. Sneffels. I’ve been to Blue Lakes before in May, with the peaks and lake smothered in snow, and I’ve been there in the summer, with the wildflower fields and lush green tundra. But I’ve never been there in September, and I was amazed at the beauty of the multicolored autumn tundra.

It was also great to get back up into the San Juans again after my last few weeks of laziness (and after my six weeks abroad before that). There’s something indescribable about these mountains that I just love so much. It’s hard to put my thumb on any one thing, it’s more just a feeling I get when I’m here. Perhaps I’ll try to explain this in some future rambling post.

Lightning in Colorado

After a fun evening of photography, I was then treated to an freakish all-night-long thunderstorm. The photo above is a stacked exposure of six shots, taken during five minutes at sunset. This same storm moved up into the mountains around my camp soon afterwards; imagine the nearly constant bolts like in this photo, but all around me in the high mountain basin! I didn’t sleep hardly a wink, but it certainly made for a memorable night!

>>See my photos and read more about the trip here.<<

Columbine Lake Overnighter

Columbine Lake Moonlight

I was fortunate to be able to squeeze in one last backpacking trip this week before I take off for Norway on Saturday. I camped up at Columbine Lake, a high alpine lake situated at 12,685 feet elevation, among the rolling tundra in the mountains between Silverton and Telluride. Though just a quick one-night trip, I had a lot of fun shooting photos and I think I came away some good ones.

I am getting really excited for my trip to Norway, but it’s still tough to leave Colorado right as it’s getting into the beautiful summer primetime here.

>>See more photos from the Columbine Lake camping trip here!